Maine Steeples Fund Grant Descriptions

Assessment Grants

The Maine Community Foundation accepts assessment grant applications on a rolling basis and decisions are typically made within one month of receiving a complete application.

Grant Amounts

The maximum award amount for the assessment grant is $5,000. A minimum 10% match of the total cost is required. For example, if the total cost of an assessment is $3,000, an organization’s minimum match would be $300 ($3,000 x .10) and its grant request could be for $2,700 ($3,000 x .90). Typically, assessments cost between $2,500 and $5,000 and may take several months to schedule.

Assessment Requirements
Since this grant program has requirements for information that should be included in an assessment, we ask that a church select an assessor from our pre-approved list or ask its preferred assessor to submit a written request to be added to this list. (See information for assessors below.)

Building assessments should be a minimum of three to five pages of text, plus 10 or more photos and drawings or sketches. Below is an outline of the information we expect to be included in an assessment, which should be of the entire steeple. A successful sample assessment is available for reference, although we recognize every assessor will have a different style of presentation. Please review the assessment requirements below and share them with the person/firm you intend to hire so the assessor understands the scope of work that is expected.

Components of an assessment include:

  • Historic overview: date(s) of construction and date(s) of major remodeling(s) and a brief statement of the historic/community significance of the building.
  • Description of existing conditions of the building and its design (include photos and drawings or sketches):
    • Foundation material and footing structure; drainage design; any structural conditions of the church that may affect the steeple.
    • Steeple or tower: description of form; roof and flashing; framing materials; cladding; fastenings; stages; openings; details; presence of bell and mount; lightning protection; noticeable leaks or rot.
    • General description of any other part of the building that would impact restoration of the steeple.
    • Description of current conditions (include photos keyed to drawings or descriptions).
    • Recommendations for scope and methods of restoration (list section by section per above): Recommendations should be in accordance with the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties and other National Park Service guidelines. (If a deviation from the standards is being considered, please explain why.) Major recommendations should be keyed to a set of drawings and/or photos that show the proposed work.
    • Cost estimates: Detail each component of the proposed work; indicate possible phases of work.
    • If an assessment was done in the past three years, send a copy by email to MaineCF so it can be reviewed. We will review the existing assessment to ensure it has the minimum required information and, if not, we will let you know what still needs to be addressed. The review process may take up to one month. Your assessor may choose to submit a written request to be added to the approved assessors list (see below) for future assessment opportunities.

Information for Assessors
If you are an assessor who would like to be added to our approved list for this program, please submit a written request to Maggie Drummond-Bahl that includes the following:

  • Name of individual or firm and contact information
  • Type of business (contractor, engineer, architect, steeplejack, etc.)
  • Number of years in business
  • Prior experience in performing assessments on historic buildings
  • Familiarity with the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Restoration and Rehabilitation
  • An example of a clearly written assessment report or a building condition assessment. An example of an acceptable assessment is on our website.

Submitting Your Grant Application

Please email a copy to Maggie Drummond-Bahl along with all required attachments.

The Maine Community Foundation will notify all applicants of the committee's decision. Grant confirmation letters for assessment grants will specify the anticipated award amount. Actual payment of the grant will be made after MaineCF receives a copy of the assessment (electronic or paper copy is acceptable) and a final invoice for the assessment. Assessments should take place within six months of receiving a confirmation letter.

Restoration Grants

Organizations may not apply for a restoration grant without an approved written assessment of the steeple by a qualified individual.

Churches or nonprofits with an assessment that meets our requirements should select a steeplejack/restoration contractor to do the work. The Restoration Grant application requires a detailed cost estimate from the person who will do the restoration work based on the assessment recommendations.

Grant Amounts

The maximum restoration grant amount is $60,000. A minimum 50% match of the total cost is required. For example, if the total cost of the restoration work is $70,000, an organization’s minimum match would be $35,000 ($70,000 x .50) and its grant request could be $35,000 ($70,000 x .50). However, if the total cost were $150,000, the match requirement would be $90,000, since the program’s maximum award is $60,000.

Application and Selection Process

To apply for a restoration grant, the church/nonprofit should complete and submit the final page of the Project Information and Grant Application Form with all required attachments to the Maine Community Foundation by either May 1 or November 1. Decisions will be made within six to eight weeks of the deadline.

Steeple restoration funds will be distributed to grantees in two equal installments. The first payment will be made when the grant application is approved. Quarterly status reports are required for the duration of the grant period and will be reviewed by the Maine Community Foundation and Maine Preservation. The second payment will be made after successful completion of the project and after timely receipt of all quarterly project report forms. We expect that all matching funds will be raised within 12 months of the initial grant award letter and that the project will be completed after an additional 12 months.

Funding Considerations for Restoration Grants

In making grant awards, the following ranking system is used:
  • Historic, cultural, and community significance of the church building
  • Quality of the assessment
  • Applicant’s ability to manage and execute the project within the stated schedule and budget
  • Applicant’s ability to raise matching funds and leverage new sources of support to complete the project
  • Extent of outreach to the local community and its support for the proposed restoration project
  • Commitment to ongoing maintenance
  • Understanding of the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards and justifiable explanation of any variances if they might not be followed
  • Need for the project and financial resources of the membership to successfully undertake restoration work.

Submitting Your Grant Application

Please email a copy of the application with all required attachments to Maggie Drummond-Bahl. If you do not have access to email, please call Maggie at (207) 412-0839.